"Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans": Individuals’ Odds of Out-Migration following Hurricane Katrina

Brian L. Levy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

This paper uses Hurricane Katrina as a case study to assess inequalities in disaster-specific, permanent out-migration. Most research on post-disaster migration utilizes data from developing countries, lacking application to the United States, or data that are either non-representative or incapable of robustly isolating disaster-specific migration relationships. This paper uses the American Community Survey (ACS) to robustly and representatively assess demographic, economic, and asset-based inequalities in post-disaster out-migration. ACS data provide comparison years for determining hurricane-specific relationships in a logistic regression model, essentially comparing disaster-specific migration to normal migration. Difference-in-differences estimation with comparison metropolitan areas detects relationships that may be causal and controls for non-disaster migration covariates specific to the disaster year. Demographic, economic, and asset-based inequalities are present, all of which have implications for disaster planning and response policy. Specifically, labor force attachment, being age 65 or older, and vehicle ownership are among the important predictors of disaster-specific migration outcomes.

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Presented in Session 191: Climate-Related Environmental Events and Population Displacement